In­fluenza is not to be taken lightly

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By DR TONY SMITH

As peo­ple start sneez­ing and crumpled tis­sues pile up, St John has timely re­minder first aid tips if you, or some­one with you, has in­fluenza or ‘‘the flu’’. In­fluenza peaks in win­ter. The flu is more than a bad cold. Peo­ple with the flu feel very un­well, have a high fever, mus­cle aches and pains, a very sore throat and a cough.

They do not usu­ally have a runny nose or sneez­ing.

Young chil­dren can also have di­ar­rhoea and vom­it­ing.

The best form of treat­ment preven­tion.

You can help pre­vent in­fluenza by be­ing im­mu­nised and by re­duc­ing the spread of in­fluenza.

See your GP to dis­cuss im­mu­ni­sa­tion, which is free for peo­ple who: Are preg­nant. Have asthma. Have chronic lung dis­eases such as em­phy­sema. Have di­a­betes. Have can­cer. Have heart dis­ease. Have kid­ney dis­ease. Are over the age of 65 years.

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In­fluenza is spread by droplets. You can re­duce the spread by:

Stay­ing at home and lim­it­ing close contact with other peo­ple.

Us­ing dis­pos­able tis­sues and not re­us­able hand­ker­chiefs.

Cough­ing into a tis­sue or your el­bow, not your hand.

Wash­ing and dry­ing your hands well.

Keep­ing sur­faces touched by the per­son with the flu clean by wip­ing them down with a house­hold dis­in­fec­tant.

In gen­eral, there are no magic treat­ments for the flu.

Spe­cific anti-vi­ral treat­ments (such as tam­i­flu) re­duce the sever­ity and du­ra­tion of symp­toms if taken early.

They are par­tic­u­larly help­ful for peo­ple at high risk such as the el­derly and peo­ple with chronic health con­di­tions.

See your GP early in the on­set of flu if you wish to dis­cuss an­tivi­ral treat­ments.

Parac­eta­mol or ibupro­fen may be taken ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions on the packet, for headache or mus­cle aches and pains.

In gen­eral, the pres­ence of a fever is help­ful for pa­tients with an in­fec­tion and does not re­quire treat­ment with parac­eta­mol or ibupro­fen un­less it is very high (greater than 39 de­grees). Do not give med­i­ca­tion con­tain­ing as­pirin to chil­dren.

Use saltwater drops (sa­line) to treat a stuffy nose in young chil­dren.

An­tibi­otics will not help peo­ple who have the flu and will only be pre­scribed for peo­ple who have bac­te­rial com­pli­ca­tions as a re­sult of the flu, such as pneu­mo­nia or an ear in­fec­tion.

Call 111 and ask for an am­bu­lance if the per­son with the flu is ex­tremely un­well.

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